Sports

'Twas far from the perfect season, but JC celebrate 27th title in typical fashion

By Howard Walker
Observer senior reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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In a sort of a singalong, Acting Principal Wayne Robinson shouted from the microphone “JC”, and the the students followed loudly with, “a big side”.

With the two combining, the auditorium shook as the Jamaica College (JC) school community celebrated their record 27th hold on the ISSA Digicel Manning Cup during devotion yesterday.

Robinson whipped the boys into a frenzy as they celebrated the homecoming of the Manning Cup they first won 105 years ago in 1914, following a 5-4 penalty-kick win over St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) last Saturday.

“If you remember our season was very eventful. We reached the semis with two points that must be some sort of history – lightning striking our boys early in one of the Wolmer's matches. If you remember we were down 1-2 in that match and we played the last six minutes against Wolmer's to get one goal,” said Robinson.

“Gentlemen, resilience, the Manning Cup, gentlemen, belongs to us. The Manning Cup is ours. We loan it out to other schools occasionally, so they can see what it is like. But the Manning Cup belongs to us,” Robinson reiterated.

With the Karl Hendrickson auditorium packed to capacity with minority white shirts of the sixth formers interspersed with the dominant navy blue uniforms of the lower classes, Team Manager Ian Forbes strode through from the back onto the stage.

The bespectacled, bald-headed Forbes was as proud as a peacock, decked in his dark blue blazer, walked onto the stage where the prestigious Manning Cup was proudly displayed.

“We could not have done it without the support of everyone and I stand with the board, the trust, the principal and the staff. They were out there in the trenches with us. In the stands with us and at home with us, away with us, supporting our young men and we truly thank you,” said Forbes.

He continued: “Auxiliary staff you have been very supportive. The administrative staff, you all know where I am going, this is team work that makes the dream work.”

“It has been an up and down season, but in the end, we prevailed. I just want to remind the young men, this is just the beginning and it's not just about football, it's about the total development... you need to balance it,” he implored the students.

While Forbes and everyone played their part off the field, the on-field marshal was Captain Tyrese Small, who led from in front.

“God is good. It was a challenging season for us and you all could see, but we fought well and came out victorious and we are champions and it's a great feeling to see that the Manning Cup is back at 189 Old Hope Road,” said Small to loud applause.

“I am very proud of my teammates and we know what and how the mental toughness came in. I must say a big thank you to our supporters and management staff and that motivated us,” he added.

Having left St Jago High for the pressurised job at Jamaica College, Head Coach Davion Ferguson, was as cool as the sunglasses he sported.

“Well, it is a tremendous feeling and when you see exactly what this means to the Jamaica College community, it really moves you to know that the support from day one was there and we actually pulled it off,” said Ferguson, who gave up his coaching role with the national youth teams to bring further glory to JC.

But things could have been different for Ferguson as JC finished the quarter-final round with just two points and advanced to the semi-final via goal difference. But he was not perturbed.

“We had people at Jamaica College monitoring the George's and Excelsior game, so we knew if we drew that game 2-2 or lost that game 2-1, once the result at Jamaica College stays we would have qualified,” he revealed.

“So instead of going for a 2-2 draw, which wouldn't change much, we decided that we are gonna play possum and play for the 2-1 defeat instead of losing 3-1,” he pointed out.

But two days after winning his first Manning Cup title, the biggest in his career, Ferguson was in a reflective mood.

“Immediately after the game, I didn't delay too long at the stadium. I wanted a moment for myself. I am very spiritual, so I spent some time with myself and reflected and really gave God thanks for this one, as this one is really huge,” said Ferguson.


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